Memory is the link between an ad and brand choice. No amount of advertising will do any good, if it doesn’t affect people’s memories. The reason for this is simple – there’s typically a long lag between being exposed to advertising and actually making a purchase decision. The only way a commercial seen on Sunday will influence your brand choice on Thursday is through memory. That’s why we keep seeing the same brands advertising over and over – to refresh our memories. In fact, brands make enormous monetary bets on people’s memories, and if you are anything like me, you know they lose way too often. Every chance to buy is a chance to forget.
What if we didn’t need memory?
Is it possible to take memory out of the equation? Could we make brand choices without needing to rely on our memory? Of course we can – that’s what shopping lists are for. You sit down, write down all you need to buy – and once in the store, all you need to do is cross out what’s already in your basket, brands and all. Simple, isn’t it? Not really. The reality is that most people don’t regularly use shopping lists, and if they do – by the time they create the list, they’ve long forgotten about your advertising. Worst of all, once they are done with their shopping, they throw the shopping list in the bin. If your brand was lucky enough to make it on the original list, what are the odds of getting there next time?
Permanent shopping lists
The rise of online shopping and soon to be trending mobile wallets and other money/shopping/coupons management apps are going to revolutionise the good old shopping list. Forget the crumpled piece of paper tucked in the back pocket of your jeans. The new shopping list is intelligent, virtual, and most importantly – permanent. To illustrate, let’s look at Tesco Online. As you place your orders, Tesco learns what you normally buy and creates a typical shopping list for you – “My Usuals”:
All you need to do is order what you always order with one click, and you are done. Shopping’s over. Great for the brands that are in your usuals, tough luck for the rest.
Get on that shopping list
Permanent shopping lists are fantastic news for advertisers – all they need to do is get on that permanent shopping list once, and they’ll immensely increase the odds of their brand being chosen time after time. Once a brand is on the list, there’s no need for memory. And if we don’t need memory, we don’t need so much advertising. The key for brand managers should be to get on the list, and fast.
*Photo courtesy of Jackson Boyle via Flickr